Petrol Girls embody what it means to be a great punk band. For a decade, the Graz, Austria-based quartet have been making aggressive, pissed-off music that rallies against social and political injustice, taking aim at issues including immigration, women’s rights and sexual violence. Intelligence has always belied Petrol Girls’ anger, whether that’s in the articulate way in which vocalist Ren Aldridge presents her lyrics, or the unpredictable approach the band at large take to constructing their songs, and on Baby – their third LP – they once more put the world to rights in riotous fashion. There’s a strong argument to be made that this is their best work yet.
Opening track Preachers will delight those familiar with Petrol Girls’ dissonant and chaos-driven brand of punk, but Baby is an album that pushes the band into new and exciting places, such as on Feed My Fire, where a demonic-sounding Ren cries over an instrumental backdrop that leans on math-rock and post-hardcore. The catchy vocal refrain – ‘I gotta feed my fire’ – brilliantly offsets the unconventional approach of the instruments, and it all comes together to create a real corker of a track.